Bird identification guide UK

Updated July 19, 2017

A huge amount of birds can be seen throughout the United Kingdom. Some of these birds live in the UK all year round, while others spend only part of the year there. The wood pigeon is the UK's most commonly sighted bird, followed by the chaffinch and then the blackbird.


Blackbirds (Turdus merula) grow to 25 cm (10 inches) in length, and are present in the UK throughout the year. The male blackbird has glossy black plumage and an orange bill and eye ring. The female bird has dark brown upper and underparts and a yellow-brown bill, and a pale throat. Juvenile blackbirds are reddish brown. Blackbirds feed on insects and earthworms.

Blue tit

Blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) grow to around 10 cm (4 inches) in length. The blue tit is common throughout the UK The blue tit has bright blue wings, crown and tail, a green mantle, yellow underparts and a black eye stripe and collar. They also have light blue legs, a black bill and a black streak down the middle of their undersides. Male and female birds look very similar, though the female is slightly paler. Juvenile blue tits have a greener crown, wings and tail than their parents, they also have yellow cheeks. Blue tits feed mainly on insects, especially caterpillars, they also eat seed, pollen and fruit.


Chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs) grow to around 15 cm (6 inches) in length, and are common throughout the UK. The chaffinch has striking double white bars on its wings. The male bird has a pink chest and cheeks, a blue crown and a brown back. In summer it has a grey-blue bill which turns brown in winter. The female bird has a brown back and grey-brown underparts and a greenish rump. The female and the juvenile chaffinch look almost identical, both have a brown bill, but the juvenile lacks the greenish rump. Chaffinches feed on seeds and insects.

Green woodpecker

Green woodpeckers (Picus viridis) grow up to 32.5 cm (13 inches) in length and are common to British woodland. Both male and female green woodpeckers have a green mantle and green wings, a yellow rump, white underparts and a red crown and nape. Both sexes also have black markings around their white eyes, a black tail, a black bill and olive legs. Female birds are distinguished from male ones by an all black moustache marking, the same marking in the male is black with a red centre. Juvenile green woodpeckers are speckled with black underparts and heads and a spotted white mantle. Green woodpeckers eat insects such as ants, beetles and caterpillars.


Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) grow up to 35 cm (14 inches) in length. Kestrels are birds of prey and are relatively rare within the UK. They can be seen hovering over grassland searching for prey. Both male and female kestrels are brown in colour with a hooked bluish bill and yellow legs. The male has black spotted upperparts, and a blue-grey head and tail. The female has black barring on the wings, mantle and back. Juvenile kestrels look like females. Kestrels are poor flyers but can hover effortlessly in headwinds for large periods of time. Kestrels feed on small mammals, such as voles, shrews and mice, small birds, beetles, grasshoppers and worms.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author